So much of what will be remembered about the 2023 MLB season has already happened. There is plenty more to come, but even as we look forward to the drama of October, we can also shift into assessment mode.
Every team, no matter how strong, has faced adversity at some level. Conversely, even the teams at the bottom of the standings have had some things go right, even if you might have to squint to identify them.
That's what we're doing in the final Stock Watch of the regular season: highlighting the biggest success and the biggest failure for every team, based on what's happened at the big league level this season.
Sim wins: 104 (change from August: +0.4)
Probabilities: 100% (division), 100% (playoffs), 23% (title)
Biggest success: Ball go far. Atlanta remains on pace to establish a single-season team record for homers. Matt Olson has already topped 50, but four others are over 30 and three of them might get to 40 by season's end. Ten different Braves have double-digit dingers. Homers have accounted for 53.1% of Atlanta's scoring. According to Statcast, the Braves have barrels on 8.3% of their plate appearances. Second place: Minnesota, at 6.5%. You get the idea: The longball has defined the Braves' season.
Biggest failure: Establishing bullpen dominance. We are nitpicking a bit here, as you kind of have to do when assigning "failure" to a team on pace to win 104 games. The concern is real, however. Closer Raisel Iglesias has been solid, but has had a poor September. Overall, the Atlanta bullpen ranks 29th in the majors with a 6.42 ERA this month. When the Braves hit the postseason, that's got to flip in a significant way, or all those home runs aren't going to matter.